Yet Another Study Downplays the Value of Paid Media


It doesn’t really speak to me.

Yesterday we posted on a Kentico survey revealing that the public, while skeptical, is willing to place some of its invaluable trust in that magic cure-all we call “content marketing.”

Now who does the public not trust? You guessed it: marketers and advertisers!!

Another study released today by research consultancy Insights in Marketing that surveyed nearly 3,500 consumers actually came to some interesting conclusions.

Stick with us here…

  • Only 26% of participants agreed that advertisers/marketers are “trustworthy”
  • Only 25% said that “the images portrayed in advertising [reflect] reality”

In other words, a quarter of that audience is what we might call “highly susceptible to manipulation.”

This guy isn’t buying it, though:


Now here’s where it gets interesting: researchers found both gender and generational divides on every question. Here’s a perfect encapsulation of that trend:

  • “47 percent of millennial men believed what marketers said about their products/services, compared with 34 percent of millennial women”

And those numbers are a good bit lower among the older demos. Also:

  • The percentages saying “I buy products/services based on advertising” were nearly identical: 47 percent of young men and 36 percent of young women

So the likelihood that someone will trust paid advertising is inversely related to that person’s age, which makes sense: we grow more skeptical as we get older. But we still see this study as a win for earned media and content marketing, because the key here is trust and objectivity: participants in the Kentico survey said they were willing to read and share content marketing materials as long as the company in question doesn’t use them for a direct sales opp.

Now for another important but unsurprising number:

  • 57 percent of all consumers agreed with the statement “I learn a lot about products/services from advertising”

Well, yeah. Of course we all encounter and rely on paid advertising, which will remain our clients’ bread and butter for the foreseeable future.

BUT the real value comes from giving the consumer something other than a direct sales pitch–and personal experience tells us those Millennial men will turn skeptical sooner than they think.

Don’t know about you, readers, but we feel like all these studies collectively make a pretty good case for investing more heavily in PR and content marketing in addition to traditional advertising.